Stop the mud slinging! Need facts on CRM Race

Whitney Medved
We're selecting a new CRM and pretty much have it narrowed down to 2 (maybe 3?)vendors. At this point I'm being straight up about who else we're shopping and which way I'm leaning. That's probably a bad idea as it's starting to turn into a mud slinging contest about who has an overseas support department, who supposedly charges erroneous document amend or training fees, and whose mobile app is clearly inferior. So- for a multi-line dealer what's the most bang for the buck:imagiclab's DealerCRM, DealerSocket, or AutoAccelerator? Out of these providers who does the best job with Fixed Ops? Is anyone trying to use one of them in tandem with X Time or some other shop loading software?
Megan Barto
I'm only familiar with AutoAccelerator - we used it a few years ago when they first integrated to the Sugar CRM platform. Maybe it's changed since then but back in 2009, I HATED IT. With an almost firey passion. In fact, my GM asked me what I thought about switching to their ILM (as opposed to VinSolutions which is who our ILM was with then), I said "if you switch to AutoAcceleator & leave VinSolutions - I will quit. Period. Needless to say, we didn't switch. We still us VinSolutions for our ILM & actually since 2009 have used them for our CRM (but this comment isn't about VinSolutions). Unless AutoAccerlator has significantly changed their platform in 2 years, I would *not* recommend them. There - that's my 2 cents.
Whitney Medved
Thanks Megan. I think this is a tough one too because 3 years ago the CRM landscape was totally different(heck, our expectations of a CRM were totally different...)Most vendors seem to have progressed leaps and bounds in that period of time. That's why I don't know who to believe--what's par for the course? Are the tools really that different, or is the key really the support? I have heard people love Vin Solutions, but that it's a little tough to customize schedules. Since we're a multi-line store running out of shared DMS accounts we need all the flexibility we can get.
Larry Schlagheck
Whitney - You may have done so already but check out our Vendor Ratings. The ratings are broken out into CRM-Fixed Ops and CRM-Sales and there are some very insightful comments from dealers like you.
Whitney Medved
Thanks Larry, I did check those out. I was just wondering if anyone had been looking at these 3 against each other and what the actual differences might be.
Steve Dozier
I'm familiar with all three. DealerSocket is in my opinion the best system. Success completely depends on how you use it. I owned my own consulting company for 10+ years and I specialized in CRM integration and processes. No matter who you choose, the system never fails, dealers fail to consistently use it properly. My recommendation would be to create the process you'll use first. The fewer people you have entering data, the better the data will be. Most systems that allow the sales associates or Advisors to enter the data have A LOT of bad data. Centralizing the data entry point will solve most of your problems. The second biggest failure point is the lack of consistent management checks. Advisors and Sales Associates will learn VERY QUICKLY exactly what to enter to make their managers happy. Managers must spot check plans everyday. Require them to sit down with 1 person everyday and call a couple of people back.... I'm the manager, I want to make sure we're meeting your needs when we called today..... If you're not going to spot check everyday, you're wasting your money on a CRM. Most CRM's can integrate with your phone system, so you can see the Advisor called the customer and spend (x) amount of time on the phone.... Without checking, be prepared for a customer to call you because someone from the store called and left a 4 minute "silent" message on their recorder. Yes.. I've seen that happen on a regular basis. Inspect what you expect.

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